House Democrats Eye War Tax

'Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010' Would Tax Americans to Pay for Afghan War

Citing increasing concerns about the rising cost of the Afghan War, a group of House Democrats led by Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) have proposed a new tax on personal income.

The tax is being pressed forward as part of the “Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010,” which Rep. Obey and others say will ensure that all Americans share the onerous burden of continuing the seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan.

The tax would be graduated into three stages, one level for those earning less than $150,000 a year, another for those earning $150,000-$250,000, and then one for $250,000+ earners. The goal is to increase taxes on the first group by 1% and increase each of the other two to whatever level the President decides will be needed for the war in any given year. Members of the US military would be exempt from the tax hike.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among the high profile co-signers of the bill, and said there was serious concern in the Democratic Caucus about how to afford the war, which Rep. Obey estimates could cost another $1 trillion over the next ten years.

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) has proposed a similar idea, and momentum for the plan seems to be growing with President Obama’s upcoming escalation announcement next week.

While the Afghan War is shaping up to rival Vietnam for the longest war in American history, most war-based tax hikes endure long after the conflict has died down. An 1898 tax on telephone service pushed forward to pay for the Spanish American War stayed on the books until late 2006, over a century after the war ended.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.